The man accused of sexually assaulting two boys in a highly publicized case last summer will go directly to trial without a preliminary hearing, the Crown says.
Peter Whitmore, 36, faces 15 charges, including kidnapping and sexual assault causing bodily harm. He was set to begin a preliminary hearing last week, but that was scuttled when his Legal Aid lawyers withdrew from the case.
On Thursday, the Crown indicated it was now proceeding by direct indictment, a rarely used procedure that bypasses the preliminary hearing. The purpose of the preliminary hearing is to determine if the Crown's case is strong enough to take to trial.
Whitmore wanted the hearing, but he caused the delay when he fired his lawyers, Crown prosecutor Tony Gerein said.
"Considering all of the circumstances, including the situation of the victims and their families, the effects delays can have on the case and the extensive disclosure available to Mr. Whitmore's counsel, the Crown decided to file the direct indictment and dispense with the preliminary inquiry," Gerein said.
Whitmorewas captured Aug. 1 after a 10-hour standoff with police at a farmhouse near Kipling, Sask.
The alleged victims are a 14-year-old boy from Manitoba and a 10-year-old boy from Saskatchewan. The disappearance of the Saskatchewan boy triggered the province's first-ever Amber Alert, the highest level of alert used in missing person cases.
Whitmore himself is not happy about the Crown's move to go straight to trial.
After the Crown announced its decision in court, Whitmore exclaimed that he didn't have any rights in Saskatchewan.
A date for his trial will now be set. At the moment, Whitmore does not have a lawyer.